Devil’s Advocacy

Devil’s Advocacy is an advanced analytical technique that has entered popular culture. It is as a method of challenging an analysis that has been completed, and is often employed as one of the last steps before an analytical document is distributed.

The purpose of Devil’s Advocacy is to question the assumptions, questions, results and conclusions reached by the existing analyst, and may be conducted by them or (ideally) by a separate analyst.

Their role will be to return to either a Key Assumptions Check or a Getting Started Checklist and then record all the assumptions and conclusions that feed into the analysis. This will include those that have been reached as a result of information fed into the analysis.

Working through the list, determine how each analysis or conclusion could be wrong. If they are wrong, what happens? Use this review to develop the worst case scenario, and include it in your analysis.

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